Monday, July 30, 2007

Killer "B"eans

So for the reunion cookout on Sunday, the reunion committee provided burgers, dogs, and pop, and we were asked to bring a side dish to share. Since I spent most of the day Saturday preparing to drive south for the reunion, and we were leaving early on Sunday, I opted for somehting I could cook in the crockpot on Saturday, forget it while doing chores, fridge it before leaving, then reheat Sunday morning. My choice? Killer "B"eans: Brian B's Blackberry, Bacon, and Beer Barbecue Baked Beans. Into the pot went:

1 small yellow onion, small dice
1 package bacon, small dice
4 15 oz cans of pinot beans, rinsed
1 12 oz bottle Smucker's blackberry syrup
1 12 oz bottle MacTarnahan's Black Watch Porter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
hot sauce to taste
1 tbsp yellow mustard
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

They cooked on high for 3 hours, then reheated the next morning, and they were delicious. TFR says they'd be better if the bacon were pre-cooked, but I thought they were good as is.

Always a Trojan

Well, it's done. My twentieth high school reunion, that is. The festivities were this past weekend -- Saturday night we had a buffet dinner, just the classmates and spouses; Sunday afternoon we all got together for a family cookout.

For a group of people pushing 40, I was amazed at how many of us had small kids -- The Lad, at 2 1/2, was nowhere hear the youngest, and one classmate had to decline to attend because she had a baby just months ago. The crowd at the bar on Saturday was small compared to the popularity of the playground on Sunday.

It was also intesting to observe the changes: the people who hadn't aged a day; the people who looked 50; the people who despite the aging were immediately identifiable, and the people whose name tags were my only hope. Time is fickle. I remember an episode of the original Star Trk in which the characters aged at a phenomenal rate, I always found it amusing to watch that episode as a rerun after the movies came out. Saturday and to a lesser extend Sunday were the same way -- people don't always age according to our expecttons. The years dole out both grace and harshness, sometimes in the same face, but always in portions specific to the individual.

And time changes us in ways other than our physical appearance. Our experiences, our opportunities, our choices -- each of us took a different path to reach the Moose Lodge this past Saturday. For some of us the road is longer than others, or harder, or more indirect, and we are all at different places in our lives, but we were all in one place that night, and it felt good.

It felt good because for a few hours each day, that place was the same place. We were equals, we were back together in one place in one time: classmates, friends, peers. Whether we work at the local pizza joint or are a corporate attorney -- and yes, the careers did span that wide a gap -- we were old friends, all glad to see each other, all helping each other remember our youth.

Sunday we all sort of drifted off. The farther away we lived, the earlier we left. But there wasn't any melancholy on my behalf, no sentimental sadness. All I felt was a gladness to be reminded that despite all that has changed, I still belong, I'm still a part of a group with a shared experience -- Douglas High School, Class of '87.